Pelletizing Technology NICA™ Extruder System

The NICA™ Extruder is a low shear extruder that has been designed to offer low temperature handling of even the most sensitive products.

Batch and Continuous Solutions

Suitable for both batch and continuous operations, NICA™ Extruders are available in three sizes: E100, E140 and E220. The E100 is only available as part of the integrated IPS5 system, a process module available exclusively with the GEA PharmaConnect™ product. The NICA™ E140 extruder is available as a standalone machine and, with production capabilities of 500 g (batch) up to 2.0 kg/minute (continuous), the unit is equally suited for R&D as well as for small-scale production. The E140 more often integrated with a NICA™ S450 spheronizer to form the IPS25 and IPS50 machines.

The E220 model offers the same processing characteristics as the smaller E140 but gives four times the throughput. Machine construction makes it particularly suitable for integration into full pellet production lines, forming the NICA™ IPS100 and IPS200 systems, with direct connection to upstream granulation and downstream spheronization and drying processes. The E220 is available as a free-standing piece of equipment or can be installed 'through-the-wall'.

Principles of Operation

The NICA™ Extruder is a radial basket-type product with two rotors (one for the E100) that rotate within a cylindrical screen. The wet mass is gravity fed into the inner rotor — the feeder — which distributes the material into cavities between the blades on the outer rotor — the impeller. Pressure is generated in a continuous wave as these blades sweep across the inner surface of the screen. NICA™ extruders can be fitted with a wide range of screens with a variety of different hole diameters and wall thicknesses. Both rotors feature variable speed drives.

This allows a high degree of flexibility to optimize product compaction and extrudate consistency. The system’s patented design ensures a very low temperature increase during the extrusion process and a consistent wet mass compression into an extrudable paste. These features work together to guarantee reproducible product density throughout a batch. Product is processed in a “plug-flow” regime and hold-up at the end of a batch only amounts to a few grams.

 

Features

  • Patented high efficiency design
  • Gentle product treatment
  • Low product temperature 
  • Multiple screen and impeller options for production flexibility
  • Product temperature monitoring
  • Easy scale-up 
  • Plug flow — first in, first out — with negligible product hold-up 
  • Easy to dismantle and clean 
  • Compact design

Typical Capabilities

E100E140E220
0.1–0.5 kg/min0.5–2.0 kg/min2–8 kg/min